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REPRODUCTION By David Jones SIMPLICITY, DILIGENCE, CONSISTENCY 3 KEYS TO SUCCESS The breeding program and protocols at Kansas Holstein Dairy are simple. Combined with dedicated employees, Tony Mattos is creating a herd to stand the test of time. Driving onto the Kansas Holstein Dairy, Hanford, Calif., the first noticeable feature is the facility is immaculate. Each piece of equipment has a designated space, the grass is neatly manicured, and small fruit trees and table grape vines adorn the space in front and side of the milking parlor. The well- maintained dairy is functional, not fancy, the ultimate testimonial to owner Tony Mattos’ philosophy of keeping things simple.. “I was raised to keep the dairy clean and neat,” Tony said. “If things break, you fix them.” On the other hand, when something works – like the reproductive program at Kansas Holstein Dairy – there’s really no need to change. Tony’s secret is diligence, simple (but unwavering) protocols, and consistency. These characteristics have led Mattos’ herd to a 25% pregnancy rate. The breeding program at Kansas Holsteins is not fancy. Instead, Tony focuses on user- friendly protocols – and does not deviate. After calving, the fresh cows are monitored for 30 days. The voluntary waiting period is 60 days. When it comes time for breeding, the techni- cians make every effort to detect natural heats by tail chalking, but will assist animals (if nec- The dairy approaches manage- ment from a team perspective. The employees, nutritionist, repro- ductive consultant and owners work together to maximize suc- cess. 8 July 2013 DAIRYBUSINESSWEST Cow comfort and heat abatement are important to the overall health and reproductive success at Kan- sas Holsteins. essary) with a modified Ovsync program. “Tony likes to keep things simple, but it’s really a full approach,” said Matt Lawrence, a reproductive consultant for Alta Genetics. “He’s a good operator, he keeps things clean, he keeps the cows comfortable. It’s his atten- tion to detail and hard-working nature that really makes the program work.” Tony got his start in the dairy industry early in life. His family moved from Portugal to the Los Angeles area when he was seven. “We lived in LA for about five years, work- ing on dairies,” Tony said. “My older brothers and I were feeding cows and milking, just trying to make a little money. We didn’t have much. We saved up and rented a small dairy where we milked 300 cows. We eventually made enough money where we could build our own place.” The family built a dairy in 1974. From there, they slowly branched out as the dairy business improved. The family has five dairies between them now, each independently owned by a different sibling. Kansas Holstein Dairy Dedicated employees help ensure Mattos’ heifer facility is filled with high-quality herd replacements. is run by Tony, his wife Ernestine, their son Jeremy and daughter Samantha. The family currently farms 650 acres and milks 1,450 cows. “This facility was built sometime in the 1970s; I came here in 1994,” Tony said. “We’ve done quite a bit of work. The parlor has been completely remodeled to a double-25 parallel, we’ve installed a separator, built new barns and constructed a new heifer facility.” With these modifications has come in- creased cow comfort. In 2006, the dairy built a new freestall barn complete with waterbeds, fans and a soaker system. Tony said he notices a big temperature difference inside the barn during the summer months when reproduction can be particularly challenging. Please turn to page 10 www.dairybusiness.com